When it comes to playwriting, the most important element is to ensure that you get the dialogue just right. If the dialogue is believable, the characters become believable, which in turn allows for the plot to come to life. But getting that dialogue right is a tricky art to master, it involves firstly understanding who your characters are, and the best way to achieve this is to ask yourself a series of questions about each character, such as:

  • Does he/she have an accent?
  • Is he/she well educated?
  • Does he/she have any mannerisms that would affect their speech? For example, clearing their throat regularly, or a wheeze¬†
  • How old is the character?
  • Do they use slang?
All of these questions are a good basis to allow you to start hearing a character’s voice. When it comes to the actual writing, you should then try to portray this voice in the words you use and the way you use them. Using shorter sentences and contractions is an easy win when it comes to making dialogue believable, take this example:
“I would have loved to come to the party with you, but unfortunately it is my mother’s birthday on that day.”
A more natural way to say the above statement would be:
“I would’ve loved to come to the party, but it’s my mum’s birthday that day.”
Instantly the statement sounds like it really has been spoken.
Have a look at some of the dialogue you’ve written and see if it sounds believable.
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